When it comes to writing your own story, there are a lot of things to consider. The characters, the plot, will you have a magic system or no, will it be strictly human or human-adjacent creatures, or will you dive into sci-fi…
All of these are things to consider, but how do you know what will fit you? You may love reading romance, but do you want to write romance? Brandon Sanderson’s magic systems are wonderful things to behold, but do you want to try and g to the same extent as him? One thing I’ve noticed for myself, is when I’m writing I dread developing a magic system. And when you’re writing fantasy, that’s not exactly something you can shy away from. Not to mention that in today’s day and age, people want to know everything about your magic system. Now, will this keep me from creating a magic system? No. Will I enjoy creating it? Maybe at some points.
Another thing that you need to consider is the age range you’re wanting to write for. For example, young adult (YA) is considered 12–18 years-old, but in recent years the “young adult” section of the bookstore could be considered “young Adult/yA”—that is “little ‘y’ and ‘big A’” (as Daniel Greene has put it). Meaning that the books in the young adult section are leaning more towards adult while holding onto some of the tropes that are associated with young adult literature.
If you’ve been on Twitter, you will see that there is a lot of discussion on how hard it is to market your story when there’s not a clearly defined age range/audience for your book. Do you want to write young adult but find that your main character is younger than 12 years-old throughout most of it? Because that would be considered middle-grade. Take Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy. It reads as adult fiction, but it’s been repackaged and branded as young adult fiction. Or there could be the case of having a series like The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden where the first book starts before the main character is even born and ends with her at 16 years-old, and it’s considered adult fiction because of its contents.
So, as you settle into your story, you need to consider what your niche is. Do you love having elaborate magic systems? Do you find yourself writing more young adult content rather than adult? Do you tend to prefer having complex political systems and little romance?
The best thing about writing, though, is you learn as you go! Now, the point of this is to say, that you can go into a story thinking you will write one thing but then find that you’re writing something completely different. And that’s okay. You could also find that one story you were so excited to write isn’t flowing how it used to. (That is where an outline can come in handy and would certainly suggest checking out my other blog, Pantser or Plotter?)
In the end, your niche could be a mix of a lot of things! And that’s what makes it yours, outside of the standard genre. So, do you know what you should do?
Go write :)